That said, I don't think Article Marketing is about to die. It's alive and strong!
It's imperative that you submit "quality" articles. A badly written article may generate you that backlink that you so much desire, but the real purpose of submitting your article to an article marketing directory is to gain publishers who will willingly publish your articles on their websites, blogs and newsletters; that's where the real traffic comes from. Publishers should "want" to publish your article...and they will not publish a poorly written article.
Submitting numerous short (less than 500 words) and haphazardly written articles will do you no good. Also submitting the same article with a few modifications over and over is not acceptable; it's duplicate content and defeats the purpose of a directory.
An author needs to sit back, choose a good topic and come up with a article that is an effective marketing tool, an article that captivates the reader and makes him or her want to publish it, blog it, bookmark it, print and/or forward it to their friends.
In order to gain any traction in the marketing arena with your articles, an author must make a sincere attempt to write impeccable articles.
As an author, your number one priority when writing an article is "quality and uniqueness." You must write powerfully and with purpose. Your writing must be attractive and persuasive, otherwise it's not worth the trouble. Writing a few "very good articles" and submitting them to carefully selected high traffic article directories is more productive than software generating hundreds of articles revolving around one narrow topic.
As I post post my own articles to directories, I always find myself refining the article. This may or may not have any direct benefit but I strongly believe it's part and parcel of the quality control process.
Personally, I don't worry about PageRank or BackLinks, I also do not force feed my directory and I read each and every article that is submitted to the directory.
Write good articles and let it come to you naturally....the search engines will reward you as bloggers and webmasters post your articles on their sites, something they will only do if your writing is stimulating and relevant.
As an owner of an Article Directory, I demand from my authors that they make a serious attempt at writing quality articles. For example, I do not accept anything less than 500 words in length...debatable yes, but shorter articles are usually badly written.
In summary, here are a few salient points to note: